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Wellness Guide

Evoke the Spirits of Your Ancestral Heritage This Halloween

Evoke the Spirits of Your Ancestral Heritage This Halloween
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Halloween is best known for Trick or Treat, going door-to-door asking for candy. To some this seems like childish fun, but if you take a moment to meditate on the origins of Halloween, you may find a deeper and more fulfilling meaning to this date. For all the commercialism and partying involved, it's heartful to remember that Halloween's true origins are of ceremonies honoring our ancestors.

Halloween is known by many names: All Hallow's Evening, All Hallow's Eve, Hallow E'en, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Samhain. But whatever name it has been called, this special night which precedes All Hallows Day on November 1st has been considered for centuries as a night of power, when the veil that separates the temporal world of the living from the afterworld of our ancestors is at its thinnest. A time in the year when the spiritual and material worlds touch for a moment, and a greater potential for completing your own soul exists.

You don't necessarily have to know details about your family tree to benefit from connecting with your ancestors. Just thinking in general terms about those who came before us—our nations of origin, our race, the traditions and habits we grew up with— is helpful for understanding the lives of those who came before us—their loves, fears, successes, challenges and failures— prompts us to shore up our own cultural worldview and engage in self-esteem boosting activities.

Thinking about our ancestors is good for our brains too. A recent psychological study called The Ancestor Effect showed that thinking positively about our family roots boosted self confidence and raised scores on intelligence tests. Mostly, our ancestors managed to overcome personal adversity and societal problems such as severe illness, war, economic decline, loss of home, family, national affiliation and a host of other human heartache. So, thinking about our ancestors reminds our brains, and encourages our souls, that people who are genetically similar to us are resilient and can survive, even thrive, through adversity.

There's something about knowing someone's backing you up, even if it's a ghost, that helps us navigate life's scary corridors and watery emotions. Thinking about our ancestors promotes our sense of social identity, family cohesion, self-determination.

Examples of ancestral inheritance can include addictions to substances or behaviors, patterns of physical or mental abuse, relationship dysfunction, religious extremism, racism, sexism, wounds related to money and poverty, predisposition to physical and mental illness, and many other markers of energy imbalance that can be passed down the generational bloodline. But, just as our shadow side mirrors our quest for enlightenment, these challenges can give us clues to the solution, an inner resource that we carry as a dormant ancestral inheritance.

For example, an overly aggressive person in this lifetime may be expressing an ancestor's who was a noble warrior. Or, an overly miserly, stingy person may be masking an unhealed wound in a lineage of wealthy providers, or addiction could be a way of numbing the sensitivity required of healers, artists and lovers. In this way, our ancestors can be both the source of our despair and the remedy. And every time we make sincere intention to heal or improve upon an inherited ancestral pattern, we raise not only our spirits but our ancestors' spirits as well.

Halloween, though, reminds us of our fighting spirit, our ability to poke fun at our human existence and pay sincere homage to our ancestors. The habits, challenges, successes and failures of previous generations are what seeded the terrain upon which we play out our present lives and germinate our human dramas.

What is your ancestral wound or gift? Don't wait for Halloween to reconnect with your ancestors' spirits. Share your spirit of love and oneness with them now!

Here is an ancestral ritual you can perform to use your ancestral energy as either an antidote for a negative pattern, or to honor their good deeds.

Having a clear focus and identifying a meaningful activity that will personally connect you to the process of healing your ancestral wound or honoring their benevolence will make this ritual more effective.

Ancestral Trick or Treat Ritual

First, close your eyes and lay your hand over your heart. Imagine the bad act or the good deed your ancestor did and feel how the energy of the action feels in your body. The energy will vary in intensity according to how your ancestor's actions impacted your lineage.

Consider dedicating a positive action to a specific ancestor rather than to all your ancestors in general. The more specific the target of the offering, the more concentrated the effects.

If your banker grandfather used his personal power to cheat farmers out of their land, for example, it upsets the balance of the universe and will put you in a state of lower life force, or depleted Qi. On the other hand, if your great uncle was noted for his benevolent acts to charity, think of all the ways you have been supported financially in your community and tailor your act of honor accordingly.

Also, try to choose a type of service or action that fits your ancestor's unique life and spirit. If your father was racist or engaged in domestic violence, you might donate to a charitable organization working for racial healing or a battered women’s shelter. Likewise, if your grandmother was an master gardener and herbalist, donate money to your local seed bank or learning garden.

Engaging in well intended and truly helpful actions will accumulate stronger Qi and produce tangible and usable energy in the present.

Written by Kim Alyce Steffgen
With a background in journalism and marketing communications, Kim's wordsmithing reflects a love of language that brings spice to many ads, articles, banners, and videos. To that spice she adds her passion for herbs, plants and alternative health.
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